Chittagong is the venue for the first test of England’s two-test series against Bangladesh which begins on Thursday 20th October and, as the fourth best ranked cricket test team in the world, England will be expected to beat a Bangladesh team ranked five places below them.
That wasn’t necessarily the case in their recent ODI series, as home team Bangladesh had previously beaten India, Pakistan and South Africa in a similar format, However, it was England who rose to the challenge to win the three-match series 2-1.
The improving Bangladesh team will definitely be ruing that opportunity to improve their ODI Ranking, and England are expected to take great confidence from the fact that they kept their cool in alien hot conditions, and on pitches that were expected to play into the hands of the Bangladesh Spinners. And, as it’s universally accepted that the limited format of ODI’s gives weaker sides a greater chance of victory, it’s no surprise that a superior all-round England Team are strong favourites to win the first test.
However, as much as they will want to win, England also know that these two matches are the perfect opportunity to consider some selection issues before they travel to India, after which they will be hosting South Africa and the West Indies next year, before travelling down under for the Ashes Tour.
To counteract that, England will be strengthened by the return of Alistair Cook, and it will be interesting to see whether England give both Haseeb Hamed and Ben Duckett a chance to open the batting with him in the absence of Alex Hales. However, Hameed’s solid defensive technique makes him look the perfect opener for the type of pitches they’ll be playing on, whilst Duckett’s more attacking style means he could easily drop down the order if needed. Either way, this is a great opportunity for two young players to shine on the international stage.
Another thing in England’s favour is the fact that Bangladesh haven’t played a test match in 2016, whilst the absence of their three fastest bowlers means the lack of a world-class pace bowler may make them rather one-dimensional if England master their spin bowlers.
That means the biggest threat to an England victory may well be losing the toss and Bangladesh batting first, as the pitches in Bangladesh usually play fair over the first 3 or 4 days. Regardless, England are still taken to win and Black Type’s 8/13 is practically free money.
If you don’t fancy taking a short-price about England winning, then how about a bet on which player will be England’s top run scorer, with Joe Root a strong favourite to fill that role.